Preparing for Birth

Pre-Birth Preparation

Breech

Babies often continue changing their position up to 36 weeks when there is less space for them to turn. However they can change position at any time. Treatment for turning a breech baby is best to start as early as possible, ideally at week 34. One Acupuncture treatment is all that is necessary alongside you applying the moxibustion treatment at home. As part of this session I will give you a moxa stick and show you how and where to use it. You will then need to continue the moxa treatment at home everyday for 10 days. During the session we will also discuss positioning to help you encourage the baby to turn. Heightened activity often occurs around days 4 to 6, although another key time appears to be day 10 or 11. If the baby turns in the first 10 days then you continue the moxa treatment at a reduced frequency. Research has shown that this improves your chances of keeping the baby in an optimal position. If the baby hasn’t turned in the first 10 days you have a rest period for 4-5 days and then repeat the treatment for another 10 days if time permits. It is possible for a baby to turn later than 36 weeks but after 38-39 weeks it is less likely to work.
Research has shown that in primigravidas (first time mothers) at 33 weeks gestation with breech presentation, moxibustion treatment for one to two weeks at Bl.67 increased foetal activity during the treatment period, and cephalic presentation at 35 weeks and at delivery.*
A study in China took 505 women with Breech presentations with the gestational range of 28-34 weeks. 81% of the babies in the moxibustion group turned, compared to 49% of the babies in the control group. *****

Induction

Acupuncture for Induction is used if the baby is overdue and a ‘chemical induction’ date has been set by the hospital. These are the only circumstances in which it is appropriate to do these treatments. Acupuncture Induction treatments will not force a labour to come on by inducing contractions. Acupuncture for Induction encourages your body to prepare for birth by helping the cervix to thin out, and by releasing any emotional blockages or muscular tension that you may have in anticipation of the birth. In so doing it encourages and supports your body’s natural process in preparing for the birth.

Acupuncture for Induction has been shown to be most effective using 3 treatments consecutively over 3 days. So please contact me ideally at least 4 weekdays before your hospital induction date! All 3 treatments are not always necessary but your chances increase if you allow for all 3.

Babies do not always come if they are not ready or not in the right position. However these treatments have been shown to hugely benefit women in terms of preparing for birth and if a chemical induction is still necessary often a lighter approach with minimal intervention is all that is required.

In the first session I will ask your partner or a friend to come in with you for the last 20 minutes so that I can show you both how to use acupressure points to continue the treatment at home. Using Acupressure at home alongside the Acupuncture Treatments greatly increases your chances of success. I will provide you with a handout with detailed instructions of how to find these points with diagrams to follow.

A randomized controlled trial in 2001 concluded that Acupuncture can support cervical ripening and can shorten the time interval between the woman’s expected date of delivery and the actual time of delivery. ****

Pre-Birth Preparation

This is my favourite type of pregnancy treatment as it is such a special time preparing for birth which is such a major transition in a woman’s life and in the life of her family. Pre-birth Preparation Treatments are weekly treatments from 36 or 37 weeks. Pre-Birth Acupuncture Treatments reduce your chances of going overdue and needing to be induced, and have been shown to increase your chances of having a speedier delivery. Treatment can be helpful to prepare the body physiologically by helping the cervix to thin out in the latter stages, and by encouraging a healthy circulation of blood flow to the uterus. Treatment can also help release any emotional blockages or fear around the birth relating to past experience or adjusting to the life changes. This helps to support a more relaxed and healthy delivery.

Research on the use of acupuncture to prepare women for labour in 1974 concluded that acupuncture once a week from 37 weeks gestation was successful in reducing the mean labour time of the women treated. **
Research in 1998 concluded that acupuncture treatment had a positive effect on the duration of labour by shortening the first stage of labour, defined as the time between 3cm cervical dilation and complete dilation. ***

Post Birth Support

For the first 3 weeks post birth I offer home visits. Treatment can be particularly helpful in helping with feeding problems or with Post Natal Depression. Sometimes just one or two treatments can help a more speedy recovery from the birth. Sometimes if the birth is particularly fast then the mother may benefit in a treatment for her body to process the shock and enable her to fully relax again.

Post Natal Depression

Some women are unfortunate to suffer from Post Natal Depression quite unexpectedly even if they did not suffer from this at previous births. Just 1-3 treatments can be all that is required to help stabilize the hormones post birth and enable you to enjoy your new baby and role as a mother. Treatment is ideally started as early as day 4 or day 5 post birth.

If the birth was complicated and other factors are involved like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder then more treatments may be necessary. This can be discussed in the first session.

Problems with Breast Feeding

Often just one treatment post birth can help with milk flow or if there are any problems feeding, especially if the baby is born prematurely. In the session I can show you and your partner Acupressure points to use that you can continue to use at home to help maintain a smooth flow of milk.

* Cardini et al. (1998) had a randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association to evaluate the efficacy and safety of moxibustion on Bl.67 to correct breech presentation with 130 women at 33 weeks. JAMA 280:1580-1584
** Kubista E, Kucera H (1974). Geburtshilfe Perinatol;178(3):224-9
*** Zeisler et al. (1998) Gynecol Obstet Invest;46:22-5
**** Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P (2001) Wein Klin Wochenschr;113 (23-24);942-6
*****Co-operative Research Group on Moxibustion Version (1984) Abstracts from the Second National Symposium on Acupuncture and Moxibustion and Acupuncture Anaesthesia, All-China Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Beijing, p150

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